Gingernuts confirmed for Livamol as clash with Winx looms
Lock Gingernuts in for the rescheduled Livamol Classic but more importantly a clash with Winx, one race later, is looking more likely by the day.
Te Akau principal David Ellis has confirmed the last start winner, of the Group I Windsor Park Plate, will be in the nominations for the Livamol on Tuesday and is certain to be back at Hastings for the $250,000 Group I weight-for-age contest.
One start later, the Kiwi horse with the cult following, looks set to take on Winx - the wonder mare who is unbeaten in her last 21 starts - in a trans-Tasman battle that will be a marketing dream for the TAB if it comes off.
Gingernuts, the New Zealand Derby winner of last season, was favourite for the Livamol (2040m) on October 7 but the meeting was abandoned before the race began due to a shifty section of the track just after the winning post.
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The abandonment carried massive consequences for Gingernuts and plans to fly to Australia three days later were quickly shelved, as was a start in the Caulfield Cup.
The Livamol was rescheduled for (Sunday) October 22 and Stephen Autridge, who trains the Te Akau team in partnership with Jamie Richards, told Stuff on Monday that Gingernuts was likely to be back at Hastings but speculation continued that the three-time Group I winner was still a chance to head across the Tasman before the rescheduled date.
Ellis put an end to the speculation on Friday when he confirmed Gingernuts for the Livamol before he heads to Melbourne for another weight-for-age assignment over 2000 metres at Flemington on November 11.
"We will head to Australia for the Emirates Stakes on the last day of the carnival," Ellis said.
There is still plenty of water to go under the bridge before the Winx verses Gingernuts clash is confirmed. A racing plan can change quickly. The Te Akau Gingernuts Syndicate, unfortunately, found this out the hard way when the Livamol abandonment crushed their Caulfield Cup dream.
Winx is not a certain starter in the Emirates - she has to come through the Cox Plate first - but her connections have said it is likely she will be there.
Racing on the final day of the carnival has figured in Chris Waller's (Winx's trainer) plans before following her pair of Cox Plate victories.
But in 2015 Winx was only four and the extra race ultimately proved to be not worth the risk and last year she was galloped on in the Cox Plate and had to be treated with antibiotics.
Gingernuts will have an exhibition gallop following race two at Matamata on Saturday alongside stablemate Chance To Dance. Ellis confirmed the later will also take his place in the Livamol.
Gingernuts is a $2.20 favourite in the futures market for the Livamol ahead of Chance To Dance ($4) and Volkstok'n'barrell ($4.50).
In a significant boost to Hawke's Bay Racing, the Livamol field seems destined not to lose any major star power from the October 7 field.
Meanwhile, the Te Akau Avantage Syndicate has turned down a mega-dollar offer for first start winner Avantage.
The Fastnet Rock filly, who was a two and a quarter length winner on debut at Riccarton (October 7), was the subject of an unsuccessful $750,000 offer.
Avantage will be aimed at the Listed Welcome Stakes at Riccarton on New Zealand Cup day.